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Teen was Shot and Left for Dead by Friend – 9 Weeks Later, She Sends a Message to Her Offenders

Deserae Turner was found half-conscious in a canal not too far from school in Smithfield, Utah, on February 18. She was rushed to the hospital with a gun shot would to the back of her head.

For the past nine weeks, CBS News reports, the 14-year-old Utah girl has been fighting for her life. She’s undergone several surgeries and been through extensive rehabilitation.

This week, her family announced her being ready to leave the hospital.

She had a message for the two people who allegedly shot her.

Deserae woke up from her coma on February 26. She had no idea how she got there.

The last thing she remembered was meeting her friend by the canal to buy a buck knife and was surprised that he brought a friend with him.

According to Deseret News, Deserae was interviewed by the police on March 10 in her hospital bed.

At this point, she knew she had been shot, but didn’t know what happened. She asked the officer who shot her and why she had been targeted.

The police officer worked with a counselor to determine the best way to tell the girl that she knew the person who had shot her. Her dad decided to break the news.

he told her she’d been shot by her friend in the canal.

Smithfield police detective Brandon Muir testified in courts that he remembered seeing her face as she learned the news:

“She said she was surprised, she had a look of shock on her face […] She was trying to sort out how that even happened.”

A few weeks prior to the police interviewing Deserae, they took the time to interview her friends. On February 23, Fox 13 reports, they arrested two 16-year-old boys. they have not been identified as they are juveniles.

During one of the interviews, Deseret News reports, a police officer noticed the defendant was nervous. He told the boy that the girl died. He immediately started crying and admitted to being involved in the crime.

In a witness statement, recorded by the Salt Lake Tribune, the teen said that he was playing video games with a friend when he said he wished he could stop Snapchatting with the girl. His friend told him that he had a knife and they could easily kill her to end the conversation.

At first he though his friend was joking. But the mood changed quickly. They planned to meet the girl at the canal, kill her with their knives, and steal her belongings. The defendant admitted that the reason for the crime was greed.

When he got to the canal, he was too afraid to use his knife. He shot her instead with his brother’s .22 caliber gun that he had brought as a backup.

After she was shot, the teenage boys stole her backpack, $55, cellphone, and iPod. They threw away the purse. The other boy, Fox 6 reports, kept the shell casing. The iPod and cellphone were found broken. Her purse was tossed in the trash.

They returned home to play video games.

The boys are now being charged with first-degree felony attempted aggravated murder and aggravated robbery, and four counts each of second-degree felony obstructing justice. According to Gephardt Daily, the teenagers could stand trial as adults.

Deserae still has the bullet lodged in her head. She had to deal with knowing that a friend that left her in the hospital and betrayed her trust.

On the day she was ready to leave the hospital, she walked into a press conference wearing a shirt that said “happy” on the front.

She told the room full of people that she was excited about leaving the hospital to be with her horses.

When asked how she felt about the boys who shot her, her lawyer declined committing at the the time.

But her words, outfit, and the way she carried herself sent a powerful message to the boys who tried to kill her. She was no longer thinking of them or their actions: “It says happy, and I’m happy to go home […] I told my dad, I’m stronger than a bullet.”

 

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